By Jamie Wiggan
Sto-Rox graduate Timothy Matson resumed service at Pittsburgh’s police force last week after a two-year leave of absence resulting from injuries sustained while responding to the Tree of Life shooting on Oct. 27, 2018.
Matson sustained seven bullet wounds during the attack that left 11 Jewish worshippers dead and several others wounded. He has since undergone extensive rehabilitation and returned to work on modified duty Oct. 6.
“It’s good to be back,” Matson said. “...It was totally overwhelming and humbling how much support there was.”
Just three months after the mass shooting event, Matson was invited to the White House as a special guest for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 5, where he received a standing ovation. Later that year, he was also awarded the Magen Israel Award at the Law & War Conference in Israel.
More locally, Matson was inducted as the first “Athlete of Honor” in the Sto-Rox hall of fame during its 2019 ceremony.
McKees Rocks Councilman Archie Brinza said he’s a long-time friend of Matson’s, and last year helped organize a fundraiser in his honor that drew more than 500 people.
“He fought, he persevered, and now he’s back to work,” Brinza said. “It’s an honor to be a part of a community that has a guy of his stature representing it. He’s a strong hearted young man.”
Matson, who grew up in Stowe’s Presston neighborhood, said his local upbringing helped him become the kind of man who would put himself in the line of fire to protect others.
“Growing up in [the Sto-Rox community] everybody was real close and real tight, and it shows,” he said. “It definitely started down there – my mom put that in me early, and I was just surrounded by people of the same mentality.”
Matson, 43, joined the Pittsburgh police department in 2005 and served on its Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) from 2016 until his forced medical leave.